Release date: November 13, 2020
Label: Beacon Sound

This new release from Portland, Oregon’s WL (pronounced Well) is a thing of unearthly beauty. It is dream pop of the highest order, crystalline, hazy, and mysterious, dominated by singer Misty Mary’s gauzy vocals and slow, warm washes of keyboards and synths. You can use many words to describe their sound, but your impressions may change as you become immersed in their exquisitely crafted music. Watery veins of pulsating notes reach out to encompass you, and the siren song of Misty’s voice will surely enchant you.

Opener ‘Morning’ starts off with ominous synths and quickly morphs into strikingly gorgeous synth pop. Slow and ponderous, it entices and keeps your interest as it unfolds. ‘Water’s On My Side’ percolates along like droplets of rain, something Portland is known for when it isn’t stuck in a drought. Pretty stuff! ‘Show Me’ reminds me of Avalon era Roxy Music and even some of the soundtrack music from the 90s cult show, La Femme Nikita. It is my favorite song here, and one I have stuck on repeat. Haunting and evocative, it will certainly stay with you. ‘Mountain Home’ speaks of foggy landscapes and cool mists over verdant forests, and Oregon is certainly full of spectacular scenics. It is the perfect Northwest soundtrack.

‘Ganzfeld Light’ is an interesting sonic experiment. I thought at first that maybe this was describing a lighthouse, but indeed, it is something completely different. The Ganzfeld effect occurs when your brain has little visual stimulation and fills in information on its own. It can cause strange visual and auditory patterns and even hallucinations. It is lovely synth pop, in any case! ‘Violet Shadow’ is a song you can savor when the sky is turning every shade of the rainbow and the day is drawing to a close. It is rather trippy, and this one can definitely spin you ‘round as it propels your head into the cosmos, but wait it out and you will be rewarded.

‘ADHD’ has gentle, chiming notes and I was easily lured into its sonic web. It picks up the pace and moves into widescreen post rock. Wonderful! ‘Voices’ is the very end of this song suite. It opens with buzzing synths that mimic a rainstorm (at least to my ears), and it ramps up majestically, but at only a shade over three minutes, it could have been longer. In summary, this is a terrific band with a windswept, cinematic sound that meshes dream pop with post rock and leaves you mesmerized. Highly recommended!

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